Watching Hurricane Katia on Cape Cod, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland

September 06, 2011; 11:00 AM
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The solid line represents the most likely path of Katia into the weekend, while the dashed line represents a possible more westward path.

There is room for Hurricane Katia to get close enough to several points of land in North America to cause problems.

Katia will impact coastal areas from northeastern Florida through Newfoundland with rough seas and surf.

Katia will take a path west of a ridge of high pressure over the central Atlantic (known as the Bermuda High) and east of a developing trough of low pressure over eastern North America.

The hurricane reached Category 4 strength (135 mph) for a time Monday night but has since weakened to a Category 2.

According to Meteorologist Brian Edwards, Katia still has a shot at regaining Category 4 status over the next 24 to 36 hours.

"After that period, it will enter a zone of progressively cooler waters and increasing wind shear which will ultimately lead to weakening," Edwards said.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno expects Katia to continue on a northwestward path for the next couple of days that will take the hurricane west of Bermuda.

As Katia nears the U.S., the consensus among AccuWeather.com meteorologists is for the system to turn to the north, staying well to the east of North Carolina.

The key for other points of land sticking out into the Atlantic, such as Cape Cod, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, will be exactly when Katia makes this northward turn and follows up with a curve to the northeast.

The danger is that if Katia's northward turn is delayed, the trough may try to tug on Katia from the left, limiting a later forecast turn to the northeast, or preventing that last turn altogether.

"The closer Katia gets before making the turn would make it more difficult for the hurricane to completely avoid these areas," Rayno said.

From a meteorological standpoint, what you don't want is for the jet stream to take a huge dip to the south into Lee's old circulation. Such a setup would open the door for Katia to take a path more northward and westward than currently projected late in the week and this coming weekend.

Fortunately, that scenario is a long shot, with the most likely outcome being a curve to the north, then to the northeast, keeping the destructive winds away from land areas.

However, with a moist atmosphere, rather than a dry one in place along the Atlantic Seaboard, Katia could maintain its uniform circular shape, possibly bringing more wind and rough seas on its western side, compared to most hurricanes tracking into northern latitudes.

People on Cape Cod and the Islands of Massachusetts, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland should monitor the path of Katia.

Even though the Outer Banks are not likely to get anything more than breezy conditions and rough seas, the potential for tropical storm conditions or worse will increase farther north on land areas that stick out into the Atlantic.

Even without actual landfall in these areas, there is potential for a period of gusty winds and very rough seas.

Perhaps it will be nothing worse than a nor'easter in January for these easternmost points of land. However, there is much less beach and boating activity during January as opposed to September.

With Katia cruising the western Atlantic nearby, bathers and boaters should treat building seas with respect.

This video below has the latest on Katia and other concerns in the Atlantic from our expert:

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